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Friday, November 24, 2023

COVID and Immigrant Parents

 In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families. Those challenges were especially tough for immigrant families during the pandemic.

Zhanag, H. (2023). The Mental Stress of Immigrant Parents of Children with ASD in the United States During the COVID-19 Pandemics: A Study from Ecological System Perspective. International Journal of Special Education, 38(2), 1–13.


Given that researchers interested in the experiences of minority parents of children with special needs sometimes recruit participants solely based on their ethnic origin, despite the socioeconomic and political divide between immigrant and native-born minority parents, little is known about the experiences of immigrant parents in the context of the global pandemic beginning in 2019, even though academics have seen major changes in family life in the context of COVID -19 constraints. By examining through an ecological system perspective and based on the findings of a qualitative interpretive phenomenological analysis(IPA) that sought to understand the experiences of 13 immigrant parents of children with ASD advocating for their children, who immigrated from 7 different countries and regions, this article discusses the mental stress experienced by immigrant parents during the pandemic. The findings about mental stress included coping with mental stress caused by being separated from family support networks, increased miscommunication caused by the shift from in-person to online communication, and increased workload as a home-based intervention provider due to practitioner shortages during the pandemic. This study implies that even though immigrant parents have demonstrated amazing resilience in dealing with the pandemic-related environment, external social support is urgently needed to assist them in managing the impact of pandemic-related stresses and concerns.